Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital. New York and. London: Monthly Review Press, Pp. ix + Harry Magdoff. New School for Social . This landmark text by Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy is a classic of Monopoly Capital and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more. Monopoly Capital [Paul And Sweezy, Paul M. Baran] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

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The authors are under no illusion that they have succeeded in exhausting the subject. Paperback, pages ISBN: While production, productivity and profits soar, the rate of investments declines. If a highly industrially-advanced country such as the United States — which underlies the whole reasoning of Baran and Sweezy — could be considered a closed system, then, in the Marxian view, its rate of profit should fall with its increasing organic composition of capital, unless offset by an increased rate of surplus-value expressed in an accelerated capital expansion.

The basic reason for the expansion or contraction of the economic system is to be found in capital-labour, or wage-profit, relations — not in the technical capacity to produce. This was hardly surprising given the marginal and dependent position of radical anx in the academy.

Immediately, of course, government-induced production increases sweeay and employment beyond what it would be without this intervention. To speak in extremes: Retrieved from ” https: And it would be able to sell a larger product if capital would accumulate and thus increase the effective demand.

Private accumulation therefore requires the support of government spending geared primarily towards imperialistic and militaristic government tendencies, which is the easiest and surest way to utilize surplus productive capacity. If not, idle capital in its money form would exist as a private hoard.

But this does not alter the fact that the utilisation of productive resources by government is the utilisation of privately-owned productive resources.

While increasing the total mass of labour and of products, it does not increase the mass of surplus-value and represents, therefore, a loss rather than a monopolyy — a loss similar to that suffered by wweezy when part of the produced commodities cannot be converted into money.

Many of the finer points of their analysis of course passed me by at first. The government has not succeeded, however, in convincing the barah that this is actually so, for, now as before, capital does object to the increase in taxes and the growth of the national debt as being detrimental to its own profitability and accumulation requirements.

Baran and Sweezy have produced an appraisal of American society … that is totally at odds with the interpretation of American society we find in the books of most professors … unlike most books we read, this one attacks prevailing beliefs at their roots. This, then, was mainly a reply to fundamentalist arguments. BooksPaperbackeBooks Filed in: True, government purchases actually do increase production generally, for the non-marketable final products require intermediary productive activities, such as the production of raw materials, the consumption needs of increased employment, and the required additions and changes in the productive machinery.


Unless confiscated, they can be utilised by government only through its purchases, and the money used in these transactions must first be extracted from private capital either by taxation or through borrowings. Whatever the mass of labour-power in the real capitalist world, in relation to the progressively faster growing constant capital it must become a diminishing quantity.

Monopoly Capital

To the individual it also makes no difference whether he is employed in the production of waste or in that of marketable commodities. It grew out of the critique of militarism and imperialism and economic waste as much as out of economic crisis. For Baran and Sweezy, however, capitalist problems are exclusively market problems. At this point the rate of profit falls below what is necessary to continue the expansion process.

When these limits are reached they will cease countermanding the capitalist crisis. Whatever these statistics may be worth, and they are admittedly not worth much, they do not relate to the Marxian problem of the determination of the rate of profit, but to the capitalist problem of the division of recorded income — other than wages — among the various interest groups living on the surplus-product.

There is no denying, of course, that in a few nations and for a considerable time, capital has been able to prevent the rise of depressions such as plagued the world prior to World War Two. The composition of the surplus shows how it uses that freedom: I did think for years that Baran and Sweezy were wrong when they said that civilian government spending as a share of GDP had reached its outer limits by the late s.

Stagnation and the Financial Crisis. This claim rests, however, on a curious way of accounting, for, actually, the growing national debt cannot be related to total national income, but only to that part of the total which has not been injected by government into the economy.

What gave rise to the New Left was the Soviet invasion of Hungary. When it is not possible to convert all produced commodities into money, it is not possible to realise the profits based on that part of production which falls to the capitalists.

In the not-so-long run, the extraction of monopoly profits is a self-defeating process, bound to affect negatively both the monopoly-rate and the competitive rate of profit.

Monthly Review | Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order

They were simply extending the value analysis baarn take on new questions related to the monopoly stage. Moreover, orthodox economists now recognize that the stagnation dates back to the s—precisely what Monopoly Capital pointed to and what MR has been insisting for more than forty years. Other forms of absorbing the surplus include expansion of the sales effort and the growth of finance, insurance, and real estate. With accumulation a going concern, however, the increasing productivity of labour monpooly hand in hand with the value-expansion of capital.


It is by counting an expense as an income that the illusion arises that a growing national debt is neutralised by a rising national income. And so it seems; but it does not show up in the rate of capital expansion, only in the size of the Gross National Product, of which a growing part is no longer profitable. Contrary to what Baran and Sweezy say, the Marxian analysis does not rest on the assumption of competitive capitalism but on the abstract sweezt of total capital. All the social layers which live on abd, as well as the expansion of capital as capital, depend on this surplus-value, which, however much it may be increased through the growing productivity of labour, is at the same capiral also decreasing through the relatively faster growth of the non-profitable rather than the profitable sector of the economy.

Their purpose and hope is to help people to see present-day capitalist society differently and more realistically, to highlight the central problems which need to be tackled and solved, and to indicate directions in which further study and thought are needed.

Any claim the Soviet Union had to moral leadership of the world socialist movement is now extinguished. The arrival of this point in concrete reality is not predictable, but the tendency in this direction explains for Marx the recurrent crises and the increasing difficulty of overcoming periods of capital stagnation through changes in the conditions of production which raise the rate of surplus-value.

This landmark text by Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy is a classic of twentieth-century radical thought, a hugely influential book that continues to shape our understanding of modern capitalism. The conditions of capitalism would have been completely reversed.

Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order

Paul SweezyPaul A. However, as long as capital accumulates it does so because it is still able to increase the mass of surplus-value. If this is so, it will of course not only increase the production of waste, but slowly and surely destroy the private-enterprise system.

Without the accumulation of capital, however, the capitalist system can only contract, and it contracts the faster, the more its production becomes unprofitable. This an … deals with a vital area of economics, has a unique approach, is stimulating and well written. And thus, while the fall of the rate of profit is checked by accumulation it cannot entirely be prevented, for there are definite limits beyond which the absolute labour-time cannot be extended and the necessary labour-time, i.